Czech deputies on Tuesday began debating the alleged conflict of interest
issues of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš outlined in a preliminary report of
the European Commission, which focuses on the granting of EU subsidies.
Mr Babiš told MPs that the draft report amounted to an attack against the Czech Republic and its national interests. He again asserted that Prague would not return any subsidies in connection with the case, which centres on the Agrofert conglomerate he founded.
He also lashed out again at the opposition Pirate Party and the Czech branch of corruption watchdog Transparency International, who turned to Brussels over Babiš’s suspected conflict of interest last year.
The Czech government has started preparing a new economic strategy, which
would lead the country into the year 2030, Industry and Trade Minister
Karel Havlíček said on Tuesday at the annual meeting of industry and
export representatives in Prague.
The long-term aim of the program is to support production with a higher added value as well as implementing changes that will help the Czech Republic to become a leader in artificial intelligence and innovation. The motto of the new policy line will be The Czech Republic: A Country for the Future.
Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham is among the high-profile guests
set to attend this year’s Prague Writer’s Festival. The British author,
who is perhaps best known for his 1998 novel Hours, will present his new
book, called Glory.
Other guests include Australian feminist writer Germaine Greer and Mexican writer and journalist Alma Guillermoprieto. The festival will run from October 16 to 20.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Industry and Trade Minister Karel
Havlíček could visit Myanmar this fall. Mr Havlíček made the statement
at the Czech-Burmese economic forum, which takes place on the occasion of
Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Prague.
Mrs Suu Kyi, who is Maynmar’s de facto leader, is in the Czech Republic
for a three-day official visit. She is accompanied by her minister
country’s minister of investments and economic relations and minister of
Speaking at the economic forum, Mr Babiš has highlighted the growing economic cooperation between the two countries. He also said that while Czech exports to Asia fell by 23 per cent last year, exports from Myanmar to the Czech Republic increased by 66 per cent.
Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček, along with police and customs officials
on Tuesday opened a National Border Protection Centre in Prague. The main
task of the newly established centre is to ensure cooperation between
security forces in the protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders.
The joint centre of the immigration police and the Czech Republic’s Customs Administration, which is located in Prague, will cooperate with partners in the Schengen Area and other countries.
Mr Hamáček said better protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders was a basic precondition for preserving the freedom of movement.
The 74th Prague Spring international classical music festival comes to a
close on Tuesday evening with a performance at the Smetana Hall of
Prague’s Municipal House. The Orchestra National du Capitol de Toulouse,
led by its chief Russian conductor Tugan Sochijew, will play Antonín
Dvořák’s violin concerto in A minor, featuring French soloist Renaud
The Czech Republic’s largest classical music festival got underway on May 12, offering around fifty concerts.
The average monthly wage in the Czech Republic grew by 7.4 percent
year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, according to figures released by
the Czech Statistics Office on Tuesday. The average wage at the end of
March stood at CZK 32.466. In real terms, discounting inflation, the rise
was 4.6 percent.
The median wage, a midway between the highest and lowest levels, in the first period of 2019 rose by 7.4 percent to CZK 27.582. Average salaries in the Czech Republic have grown uninterruptedly since 2014.
Another in a series of protest events against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
is to take place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening. The
organizers say they expect 100,000 protesters, which would make it the
biggest public protest since the anti-communist demonstrations in 1989.
The initiative Million Moments for Democracy, which has organized weekly protests against the prime minister since the end of April, when the police proposed that he be charged with EU subsidy fraud, says that demonstrators will demand both the demise of both Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Justice Minister Marie Benešová who was appointed just days after the police recommended that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stand trial in a fraud case.
They are further calling for the appointment of an independent justice minister and for Mr. Babiš to relinquish all his media assets so as not to continue to influence the free press.
The embattled Czech prime minister, Minister Andrej Babiš, has refused a
call from the opposition for him to ask the lower house for a vote of
confidence in his minority government. Mr. Babiš made the announcement
shortly after a meeting of the coalition government which discussed the
present political situation in the light of a preliminary EU audit stating
that the prime minister has a conflict of interest.
The prime minister’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, and the opposition Communist Party, on whose support the minority government relies, have indicated that they would continue to support the coalition government for the present time.
The head of the Social Democrats Jan Hamáček said that if it were confirmed that the companies in the Agrofert conglomerate, established by Babiš and placed in trust funds, had received grants in violation of the law the money should be returned. He said he had continued faith in the “coalition project”.